'Army Chief's extension was a unanimous decision'

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 ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, said on Wednesday that the extension to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s services was the unanimous decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and cabinet members.

Fawad Chaudhry, while talking to a private TV channel, expressed his thoughts that the issue is a political, not a legal one. He said that the Pakistan Army is an organised institution which is working under the command of the Army Chief.

He was of the view that the status of president, prime minister and chief justice is same. The decision to extend the tenure of COAS Bajwa is the unanimous decision of the federal cabinet and the premier. The cabinet members were united on its decision for the COAS extension in the favour of national interest. The minister said PM Khan always gives approval to the unanimous decisions of the cabinet. Chaudhry emphasised on understanding the importance of the Army Chief’s position. He said it is not a matter of giving an extension to the Grade 17 or 18 officers. The minister said that the process to appoint the head of each institution is different from others.

Fawad Chaudhry added that the federal government had complied with the Supreme Court’s (SC) orders yesterday to meet the legal requirements of COAS extension. He also urged to scrutinise the sensitive issue on ‘macro-level’ instead of inspecting its technical perspectives.On Tuesday, the court noted that the prime minister had himself passed an order reappointing the current chief of army staff for the second term in that office on August 19 whereas, under Article 243 of the Constitution, it is the president who is the appointing authority for that office. The government on August 19 had notified the reappointment of General Bajwa, extending his tenure by three years, citing a “regional security environment”. The court has made the army chief a respondent to the petition and held that the operation of the impugned order/notification in respect of extension/re-appointment of General Qamar Javed Bajwa for another term in the said office will remain suspended.

 Shujaat backs COAS tenure extention

 GUJRAT: Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Wednesday extended his complete support for extension in the tenure of incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In a statement, the senior politician, whose party is in alliance with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in federal and Punjab governments, said there is a dire need that the incumbent army chief continues his office. “Extension in army chief’s tenure is need of the hour and it is carried out in a systematic way,” he said.

The PML-Q chief said that only the legal aspects of the army chief’s re-appointment are under debate at the apex court. Lashing out at Indian media for making a hype of the issue, Shujaat said that it was an internal matter of the country. “The entire nation stands alongside its armed forces and respect the sacrifices they have rendered for safeguarding the nation,” he said. He said India should avoid making any aggressive move towards the country on wrong perceptions as the armed forces are ready to defend every inch of the homeland.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court (SC) has adjourned the hearing on a petition challenging the extension given to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa till tomorrow.

An apex court bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mian Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case today.–Agencies